What documentation must a creditor present in court to prove that a debt is valid?

UPDATED: May 26, 2011

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What documentation must a creditor present in court to prove that a debt is valid?

I have an upcoming trial date in 3 weeks. My original Answer to the claim was that I could neither confirm nor deny the claim until original documentation was provided by the creditor. Received a short computer print-out (not even on letterhead) with nothing but the total due, dates (ppen, interest, charge off), and an unrecognized account number. Nothing original, no signatures, just my name and address. I still don’t know if it’s even mine. Side note, I also received a notice of Class Action Settlement against the creditor. What can I state in court to have this dismissed?

Asked on May 26, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Rhode Island


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) You should state that--assuming the following is true--that you do not recognize this debt and it is not your debt. The other side will then be able to provide any better evidence which they may have--e.g any promissory notes, credit agreements, etc. If they have evidence proving that you did incur this debt--and remember: the burden of proof is on them; they have to establish or prove their case.

Note that it may *not* be enough to just say that you can't confirm that it's your debt; if you do that, then, since there is no evidence or testimony to the contrary, it will effectively be easier for them to make their case than if you are directly contradicting their claim.

2) If the settlement you refer to settles your specific claim, you can bring that up at court. Bring the documentation with you, and good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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